Fashion illustrator Gretchen Roehrs inspires us with her playful renditions of women’s fashion. Her whimsical style and effortless design aesthetic are displayed classically on her Instagram. She’s not toying simply with pen and ink; Gretchen’s designs revolve around the intersection between food and art. Trained in fashion design and product development, Gretchen has always had an eye for understanding the human form. Playing with proportions, you can see elongated legs and torsos that are as varied as your mother’s vegetable garden. The humor in these pieces is subtle, playing with lines and form serve simply to make the viewer smile and laugh a little throughout their day.
Gretchen has been featured widely in magazines and blogs from Harpers Bazaar, Vogue Brasil, and Travel+Leisure to Refinery 29 and the Huffington Post. Currently residing in San Francisco, Roehrs is a Lead UX designer for Chime. We had the opportunity to speak with Gretchen Roehrs in the fall on the intersection of fashion, design, and food.
Have you always had an interest in fashion and food?
Design has always influenced the way I live my life – it’s a compulsion to make the space around me more beautiful or functional. Getting dressed everyday was an intuitive and exciting way for me to express myself as a child and even today.
Can you describe the very first food design you ever made? How did it come about?
It all began as a bit of a joke— I was doodling around my lunch one day and I snapped a picture of it to send to my friend. I eventually began posting them to Instagram.
There is a beauty in every shape in nature, from sweet peas to the hips of a woman.
In that first design, what did you discover about food that makes it your preferred material today?
There is a beauty in every shape in nature, from sweet peas to the hips of a woman. It’s all from the same Earth. Food is just an unexpected way to showcase the everyday into something surprising.
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What is your proudest accomplishment outside the realm of design?
I suppose running a marathon astonished me!
You use a lot of fresh produce in your work. Is there a certain quality that draws you to some foods but not others? Any foods you would never use?
I take the food around me, mostly the produce I get at the local farmer’s market or from the incredible Bi-Rite Market in San Francisco. It’s vital to understand not only where your food came from, but also the conditions of the workers that harvested it. Supporting farms that exploit workers and use slave labor is something I would never do.
Has creating these designs changed your perspective on the food or fashion industries at all?
Both industries deal with the exploitation of workers and the environment. Educating yourself about the source of the burger you are about to eat or the t-shirt you’re about to purchase allows you to use every dollar as a vote. Think of your purchases as a vote for freedom and the environment—don’t buy fast fashion or dine fast food!
What kind of impact do you hope your designs have on us?
All I hope to do is make people smile!